There are few orators in American politics like US Senator Rand Paul. The libertarian-leaning Republican rose to fame for his filibusters back in the day, one time speaking for over 13 hours, which led to the hashtag #StandWithRand.
While committee hearings and political debates can be boring to some, it’s never a dry day when Rand takes the floor, as he reminded us on Thursday when he went off against a package of antitrust bills the Senate was trying to push through last minute.
“The proponents of antitrust law are famously zealous in their desire to eradicate the curse of bigness,” Paul began (with a slight eye roll on the last phrase). “To them big is always bad, except of course when it comes to the size and scope of government,” he continued (that’s right, he mic dropped them in the first 10 seconds).
Paul continued, “The same people who supposedly fear the concentration of power in the marketplace, celebrate the concentration of power in the state. A state that inserts itself into and nullifies private contracts, breaks up companies it deems too large, and inflicts punishment on those that succeed in the competition for customers.”
When I tell you this man left no crumbs…
He’s absolutely right. Supporters of antitrust love to pretend that they are monopoly busters. In reality, the companies they target are rarely if ever monopolies, while the tools they want to bust them continue to give greater and greater power to the only true, long-lasting monopoly in existence: the government. They’re utter hypocrites, and the public is increasingly becoming aware of just how much of a trojan horse the antitrust cause is. Antitrust is about control, not competition.
But Paul wasn’t done obliterating his ideological opponents. Not by a long shot.
“Antitrust seeks to cap the amount of success any company or business can enjoy, and the benefits reaped by customers. As the economist Yale Brozen wrote, ‘Antitrust law seems to say that firms should compete but should not win. Firms should be efficient enough to survive, but should not share the fruits of greater efficiency with their customers.’ And that is the fatal defect of antitrust policy,” said Paul.
.@RandPaul giving a brave and necessary lesson on antitrust hysteria on the Senate floor right now. A stirring defense of free market principles that is so sadly rare these days. 👏
— Patrick Hedger (@PatHedger18) December 8, 2022
“Antitrust fails to accept the lessons of economic history that voluntary exchange is a win/win proposition, and that consumers are incredibly powerful in a free market system. A company that continues to reward its customers with superior products and innovations, will in turn be rewarded with greater market share….Size is not necessarily a bad thing. The size of a company reflects its ability to please its consumers,” the senator said.
That’s exactly right. There’s nothing wrong with big business. In fact, a company becoming large is usually an indication that they brought some brand new innovation to the market, like Tesla or Netflix, or that it greatly increased the quality of life for its customers, like Amazon.
Size does not equal corruption.
Now, if a company did earn an unfair market advantage, say thanks to corporate welfare, selective tax breaks, unfair regulations aimed at their competitors, or some other form of cronyism via government intervention, that is a problem. But the answer then should be for Congress to stop these corrupt practices—carte blanche—not to use antitrust as a weapon to go after companies when they fall out of favor.
Paul’s senate speech was a full-chested defense of free market capitalism, a rarity in the halls of Congress these days, and it was a breath of fresh air. This should be the norm from our politicians, but for the time-being, this kind of coherent, principled, speeches will continue to make Rand Paul stand out.